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Inspiration Board | Briar Bonifacio


When muralist and Austin native Briar Bonifacio first met Cheer Up Charlie’s owner Tamara Hoover, they were working at a Daily Juice together. “She told me she was going to open up a little spot,” says Bonifacio. “She had seen my art and she wanted me to design it.”

His bright and colorful pieces helped define the fun, quirky vibe of Cheer Up’s original East Sixth Street locale, and when the bar moved to Red River in early 2014, Bonifacio’s art became a fixture there, too. His newest mural at the bar features two of his cartoonish-like “characters” including “Wasabi,” a pale green blob-shaped face floating on a cherry red background.

True to his style, his latest work is both skillful and playful, and brings to life the characters he has been creating since childhood. “I found some doodles from when I was three, and they look so similar to what I’m doing now,” says Bonifacio. “It was really weird to find those.”

In high school, Bonifacio and his friends used to skate around, sharing a can of spray paint and creating street art all over Austin. Now, Bonifacio is in charge of restoring Daniel Johnston’s mural, “Hi, How Are You,” whenever someone spray paints over it. He laughs about the fact that it’s pretty much the antithesis of his high school hobby.

Bonifacio’s work has been shown in New York, San Francisco and even Hong Kong, and he has a show up this summer at the Little Pink Monster Gallery in Canopy Studios. But his preferred medium is still outdoors — especially on the east side, where he has been hanging since his childhood. “I’m not competing with an interior,” he explains of his outdoor murals, “I can do what I want.”

For a complete list on where to find Bonifacio’s public art, click here.

  • Pecopteris Fern Fossil: One day my dad hired an arrowhead and fossil hunter to teach us how to find arrowheads along the river edge. Sure enough, I found an arrowhead. Later, I talked my dad into buying this 300-million-year old fern fossil.
  • Dad’s Boxing Gloves: My dad’s first job was a boxer for the U.S. Army. He taught me how to be a boxer, and how to smile like Muhammad Ali. We like to spar.
  • Slingshot and paint balls: When you need a break from life, grab the slingshot. I shoot this slingshot everyday. I can shoot the tow sign across the street from my third floor balcony.
  • Childhood Photo of My Sisters and Me: My sisters call me everyday, and we talk about everything. They inspire me — it’s better to have two sisters than two brothers.
  • Bamboo Brush Holder: My bamboo brush roller rides shotgun.
  • Thai Basil: I started with Thai basil from the Asian market, and I grow my own now. I plant it all over Austin, actually. I like to chop it up raw and add it to all my dishes.
  • Koga Ninja Scroll: Book passed down through centuries from father to son. The tiger scroll transmits the instructions of one of Japan’s most deadly clans. I love the cat’s eye sundial inside.
  • Goji Berries: If you go to the doctor and say, ‘I want to stay pretty,’ he will prescribe you gou qi zi. It’s said that the famous herbalist Li Ching-Yuen lived to be 197 years farming goji berries. They nourish the kidney, tonify the liver, and benefit the eyes.
  • Tiny Vintage Frame: Every day I wake up thinking I need to go check the vintage stores to see if they have any of these tiny frames.
  • Chrysanthemum Flowers: Chrysanthemum tea removes internal heat. It’s bitter tea for a hot, Texas summer. Ghost Crystal: The second vow of the Medicine Buddha is: “I vow that my body be like crystal in spotless purity.”
  • Dit Da Jow: “My Kung Fu teacher shared this with me. It’s meant to heal our bruises and turn our bones into steel. I spend every Sunday at Pease Park, practicing Kung Fu.”


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